By Alison Bailin Batz
Photo by Debby Wolvos
Nestled within the Desert Botanical Garden in a greenhouse reimagined into a restaurant is Gertrude’s, which utilizes herbs grown on its patio garden in nearly all of its recipes and captivating cocktails.
The Lavender Lemon Drop ($12) is no exception, clearly reflecting the beauty and flavors of the Sonoran Desert while complementing the restaurant’s fantastic fare.
“For the lemon drop, we chose Arizona Distilling Company’s Mission Vodka as the base, which is made from 100 percent corn and has a clean, crisp flavor and pop of sweetness,” says Gertrude’s mixologist Roberto Velasquez.
The vodka is paired with Giffard Crème de Violette liqueur, created from the infusion of violet flowers and a distillation of violet leaves.
“It’s not only very aromatic with a slight sweetness, but it also gives the drink a hint of color without adding artificial ingredients.”
Velasquez then makes a tea from dehydrated lavender and sugar, reducing it into a lavender simple syrup. The ingredients are combined in a shaker with ice and fresh lemon juice, which provides the cocktail’s signature tartness, and strained into a martini glass rimmed with housemade sugar.
“My grandma always carried around these purple hard candies. I used them – mixed with real sugar – to create our rimming,” says Velasquez, who finishes the drink with freshly picked flowers from the patio garden, often choosing violets.
Gertrude’s, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix; 480.719.8600; www.gertrudesrestaurant.net.